Zaytinya #701 9th Street NW Washington, DC (202) 638-0800
As I am sure many of you are aware, the northeastern States have endured quite a few battles with Mother Nature this summer – including some blistering hot heat waves, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, and Hurricane Irene. Fortunate for me, I was only around for one of those events and managed to get safely in and out of the nation’s capital, and enjoyed some good eating along the way. While this will be a pictureless-post due to my not wanting to whip out my cell phone during this particular meal, I still wanted to put some thoughts down and share my experience at Zaytinya, which offers Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisine.
Mediterranean cooking is not something I indulge in a great deal but when I do, I am always pleasantly surprised by the boldness of flavors that can be captured by a talented kitchen. In the case of Zaytinya, their celebrated chef is José Andrés, recently named this past spring as an “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation at their annual awards gala in New York City. The restaurant is clearly on the popular destination list by locals and visitors alike. Without a proper reservation, we had to wait a little while at the bar (where you can still get food), before a table opened up for us later in the night.
On my visits to this building which also houses Nao Sushi, I had often seen Anatolia’s Gate to be a busy place with customers inside, including many who visually seemed to have ethnic ties to the Arabic world – always a good sign when those who probably know best are eating inside. Promising myself I’d come back to visit, I did a while ago and got a take away dinner to go. With less than thirty minutes before closing time, the trio of employees who were still there were quite accommodating as I took my time perusing the menu full of Middle Eastern delights. I was happy to see the wood burning oven out front was still churning out a warm glow, but just to be sure I asked if the full menu was still available, and I was told that indeed it was. Perfect!
However, broken up into the following sections, there was a lot to choose from within each:
a) Cold Starters & Salads
b) Hot Starters, Wraps
c) Kabob Sofrasi
d) Steaks, Oven Dishes
e) Gourmet Pizzas & Sweets
Sharing between two people, I could expand on the selections somewhat, more so than if I was eating for one.